Dec. 21, 2009
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports
DE/LB Sergio Kindle
On being excited to play in this game: You can't even imagine how excited I am. I'm trying to contain it because I don't want to be overly excited, but the excitement is there.
On being the underdog: At this point, being the last game and the game of the year, we really try not to worry about underdogs and all that type of stuff. We've got to focus on our game plan because these guys are very close to being great. So if we don't cover it, we'll slip up. It won't be good. We've got to focus more on what we need to do than what everybody else thinks.
On people calling the game a defensive game: Oh, yeah, but that's going to motivate Colt and the guys to showcase that they can score on good defenses. So it's going to be good all the way around.
On Alabama RB Mark Ingram: I mean, if there's a word for all styles, then that is probably what he is. He can do it all. Run in between the tackle, outside. Make moves, catch real well, not afraid to step up and take on blitzes. I mean, what more can you want? Doesn't turn the ball over, so, total package.
On if they have played someone to compare Ingram to: He'd be like a combination of Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray as one, a lot of speed, lot of power.
On if the defense is ahead of the offense right now: No, I say we're right on track with each other. I mean, it took both sides to get us here. So I can't say neither is ahead of the other one.
On classes being over: I know it's a lot easier to come into practice motivated when you don't have to worry about classes afterwards because you're going to be tired. You can play more focused on what you’re usually doing on the field. Not saying that we didn't all year, but we just don't have to worry about going to class.
On Will Muschamp’s excitement level: It's about the same. Muschamp is the guy that doesn’t want to make something bigger than it is, even though it is the biggest game of the year. But he's still got to realize it's just another game. You know, it's for all the marbles. But it's still another game where you have to play good football.
On Alabama having six All-Americans having an effect on them: No. I mean I would have to say those guys deserved it. I mean, they didn't get voted into that position for no reason. We still have a great defense regardless of, you know, where we were voted. So we're just going to have to go out there and play our game.
S Earl Thomas
On this being talked about as a defensive game: Yeah, it's going to be a physical game. Both defenses are great defenses. They're the top of the league. You know, that just goes to say why we're in the same position that we are today. So as a kid, you always want to talk about playing for a college that's going to play for a National Championship, and it's just a dream come true.
On the media adding motivation: We don't need media to get us pumped up for this game. If you can't get pumped up for this game, you don't need to be there. We've been pumped up since Tuesday at 6 a.m. in the morning. We're just taking everything in. And we'll see what happens when we get out there.
On Alabama WR Julio Jones coming on lately: I've seen him on the Top 10 on ESPN, and I've seen him and Ingram. They're playmakers. We'll try to contain them, just gang tackle them and see what happens.
On Alabama’s offense: They're a physical offense. They run the ball, run, run, run. And if you're not watching the play action, they'll throw it deep to big Julio. When I watch the floor, they even came out in space. So they're the best offense. They play with great form, and it's going to be a great game.
On the challenge of facing a physical team: You always want to go against the best. That's how you get your name right there. You want to produce in big games. Big time players stepping up in big situations. This is a great situation for everybody. It's going to be a great game, a physical game.
On Christian Scott returning: Everybody's happy to see big Christian out there. As you remember in the Kansas game, he came in the second half and he played lights out. Actually out-produced me and outplayed me the whole game. So he's a big weapon to the defense. They just add more confidence and depth. We're happy to have him back.
DE Sam Acho
On Christmas: What am I asking for? I'm trying to get maybe like fix up my car a little bit, and maybe some iTunes gift Cards. Whatever. We'll see. Haven't decided exactly yet.
On his favorite gift as a kid: I think I'd have to say when I was a kid, 11 or so, getting that new Madden was always fun. Playing with my brother, we'd always play each other.
On the excitement of his family going into the game: It's going to be really exciting. It's the BCS National Championship game, the biggest game of the year. We're happy the whole family's going to be able to go.
On the tradition of this match-up: Alabama has a great team, a Heisman Trophy winner. We have a great team as well. Great offense, great special teams, so it's definitely going to be a battle.
On playing Alabama: You look at Alabama, the number one ranked team in the nation. Great receivers, great running backs, great O line. We have a great team as well. So it will definitely be a battle.
On Alabama RB Mark Ingram: He's a really, really good back. He finds the hole, and he hits it hard.
On the similarities of 2005, being the underdog and playing a Heisman-winning RB: There are some similarities. It's four years later though, we're a different team. But there are some similarities.
On being an underdog: Honestly, all that matters is what we know we can do in the locker room. So all the stuff on the outside doesn't really affect us.
On practice: It's been a lot of fundamentals, going back to the basics, getting your work right, your technique right. Making sure we do things the right way before we focus on Alabama.
WR Marquise Goodwin
On being undefeated and playing for a championship as a freshman: It's a dream come true, man. Coming from high school, all the way from being on a track scholarship and then, you know, walking on to the football team and having an opportunity to be here today. It was just a blessing to be able to do it.
On if the freshmen have any anxiety: I don't think so. You know, the older guys have helped everybody stay in control, and you know, stay focused on what we have to do while we're in Pasadena.
On jumping a World Championship and playing the National Championship: Playing the National Championship, it took a lot to get here. Being undefeated. Having to go undefeated against all these great teams that we played against. And it also being a team thing as opposed to me making it to the World Championship, it's kind of my own thing, you know. I depend on the guy right next to you to do his job, it's pretty neat.
On the game being described as a defensive game: I'm very excited, you know. It's just another challenge for me to go out there and go make something happen. It will be a great game, playing against a great team, great defense. We've just got to go out there and focus and do what we've got to do to come out with the win.
On using his track experience at the World Junior Championships to prepare for the stage of the National Championship: It's helped me a lot. It's experience that I have in track just to get focused and stay focused on the task at hand. We said at the beginning of the year to win the state championship, win the Big 12 South, win the Big 12 Championship, and win the National Championship. So we've accomplished three of those goals and we have one more to do. It's just helped a lot to prepare for this game.
QB Colt McCoy
On not winning the Heisman Trophy: I was perfectly fine afterwards. I was just really ready to get home and start preparing and see my teammates again. I had been gone all week long. It was a hard week. It was a fun week. I was thankful for everything that happened, but I was ready to be home and started getting ready for Alabama.
On the disappointment and if it motivates the team: I think it was way more disappointing the first time to lose. This year we have so much more to play for. That's basically what I told my teammates. You know, it's just time to get ready. We've fought through so much to get to this point. We'll go out there and give it our best shot. When it was all said and done, I came home. You know, everybody was supportive, had my back, and we'll be ready to go.
On Vince Young telling McCoy he would be in the same situation one day before leading the game-winning drive in the 2006 Rose Bowl: Vince and I had a great relationship. You know, he kind of tuned me in and took me in and taught me everything he knew. I feel like he did. Everything but his athletic ability. But in that game, you know, it was they were driving down to go score. It was right after we had gotten the fourth-down stop. He with had gotten the ball, and there was a TV time out. They were getting ready to go. He just looked up at me and said, hey, you'll be in this position some day. Basically after the game was over, he had remembered that he told me that, and he kind of handed it over to me. I knew he was going to the NFL. It was time to go back to work and get ready. You know, that was pretty special for me.
On now playing for the National Championship: Yeah, it's pretty crazy. I can't believe it. But there for a while it hadn't sunk in that we were playing for the National Championship. I was just really excited. After winning the Nebraska game and knowing that, as I told you earlier, it hadn't sunk in. It hadn't really hit that we were playing for the National Championship. But once you get back home from the awards and the Heisman and everything, it definitely sunk in.
On if experiencing the 2005 championship game will help him lead this team in a similar situation: There are a lot of guys on this team that were there in '05. We came through the same class together. A bunch of us redshirted and are back now. We remember. We remember how everybody talked about USC. This year everybody's talking about Alabama. They're well deserving. They're the number one team in the country. They've played well all year long. You turn the tape on one time and watch them play, you understand that these guys are solid. These guys are good. We definitely have our hands full in challenge for us. They're well coached, fast, physical, and they don't have any weak parts on their defense. You know, their secondary is one of the best in the country. Their front four and their linebackers are really fast and strong. They bring a lot of pressure. They love to blitz. This is going to be a challenge for us. We're excited about the opportunity and we're working really hard right now.
On being called the underdog: I think it's probably fair to be called the underdog. It doesn't matter to us. We're in the National Championship and we're going to give it our best shot, you know. So all we can control is how hard we work and practice. Just really resting up, and getting our bodies right, and getting ready for the game.
On if there is any eagerness of wanting to be closer to the date of the game: Yeah, there is a little bit, but for the most part if you handle it the right way, for me I'm taking care of my body, getting a lot of treatments and rehabbing. Just really getting my body right. I think a lot of guys can take advantage of this time. We've got bumps and bruises and pretty sore. And really rest your mind. It's a long season to go 13-0, play tough competition all year long, it's hard to do. I think Coach Brown and our coaches really handled this the right way in practice. We worked really hard. We're going ones versus ones every day. You know, it really prepares us. At the same time we're spending a lot of time resting our minds and resting or bodies.
On if he’ll talk to Vince Young about playing in a National Championship Game and all that goes into it: I'm sure he'll call me and tell me to enjoy it and have fun. I can already tell you what he's going to say. But, you know, he was really instrumental for me in my freshman year and for the past four years that I've played. Usually whatever he tells me, I take to heart and listen to. So he may give me some cool stuff.
On watching tape: Yeah, I've been watching tape and getting ready. I've got to be prepared. They do so much stuff. Every tape that you turn on, they've got new blitzes, new coverages. They're just really good. They're not going to mess up. They're going to execute what their call is. We've got to be able to handle it. For me it's the preparation I'm going to need every day that I can get it.
On if the offensive line was down after the Nebraska game: No, the whole game all we were doing was encouraging each other. It's really difficult to be able to fight through a game like that when nothing's going your way. You're not getting a lucky break. You're getting tipped balls for interceptions and balls that are caught and stripped for interceptions. You know, it's one of those things that are really frustrating. Sometimes it happens. It's a game. They were able to put a lot of pressure on us, but ultimately the best team won. We found a way to win in the end. So I think just being able to fight through the game like that and overcome all the negative things that continue to happen to us is really big for us. It was a defining moment for us and for our offense. We found out that pretty much nothing went right for us the whole game. We dropped a touchdown. You know, little things like that constantly throughout the night and we still found a way to win. That's a big boost for us. Obviously, the Alabama defense is better. I mean, if you look at them on tape, they've got a lot of talent, and we can't play the way that we did and expect to win. We've got a lot of work to do, and we'll have to rise up and compete and play our best – just encourage each other, lift each other up. Really the guys on the offensive line are seniors, and they know how to handle the ups and downs. They've been playing for two or three years. We're a very tight knit group, and we'll get over it.
On if he might put the same pressure on himself he did earlier in the year: There is no way. Once you fought through that, you won't put yourself back in a slump or whatever you want to call it. Having too much fun. You know, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not many guys ever get to play for a National Championship. So for us as a team, our mentality is to go in there and have fun. We'll work our tails off. We'll prepare and be ready. You know, Alabama's going to do the same thing. It's going to be a great game. So for us we'll go out there and have fun and play the best we can.
WR Malcolm Williams
On if it feels like they’re starting the season over:
Yeah, it feels like it. Two a days, the tough work. Getting back to the basics, basically.On enjoying the 5:15 a.m. wake up:
No, I don't. But it's what I got to do. So I do it, and I put a smile on my face and keep going.On not focusing on Alabama at this point of practice:
Basically I feel like we need to improve ourselves before we start talking about them, so getting better as a team, as a unit. When we do start working on them, it will benefit us better. On the team’s mindset entering the game:
We know they're a great team. So we're saying go out there, play our game, play hard and tough for the whole duration of the game, and just come up with the victory. On the opportunity of playing in this game and having ever won a championship besides this year’s Big 12:
No, I've never won a championship, so this to me is the biggest moment in my life. This is just something I have to enjoy while it's here. When the game comes, enjoy it for the most part and play my game and just try to have fun. Nobody's going to get this many opportunities to be able to be on this stage. It's just one of those things that we have to go out there and enjoy ourselves.On if he’s been told what to expect about the game’s atmosphere:
No, it hasn't been brought up yet. But I expect it to be crazy. I really haven't been in too much of a crazy atmosphere besides being at an away game. So this being the actual big game, it's going to be something that I'm really going to enjoy.On the importance of blocking to help the running game:
Yeah, we've talked about it because we know that we have a really good running game and we know we have to produce to help the offense. So it goes back and forth. We helped the running game. The running game helps us. So it's one of those things that we have to go out there and do what we know we're supposed to do and to help our offense. On Alabama:
They're very talented. They have a lot of great skill players and big guys that play really well. They've got a great motor on them. They play the whole game. They never quit. It's one of those games where we're going to have to play the whole game and try to come out with it whenever we can. They're going to play hard the whole game. We're going to play hard the whole game and try to compete with them.On being called the underdog:
We don't too much think about it. We know they're a good team. It's all on paper. We know they have a lot of great players. But we have some good players, too, so we have to go out there and play our game and just play hard and try to come up with the win.On the underdog talk:
No, it didn't deter us. We weren't even thinking about it. It's one of those things it's just a lot of talk, so we have to go out there and play. It doesn't matter what people say because in our locker room we know what we're capable of doing, so we just have to go out there and play. On the 2005 team being underdogs:
The '05 team was a great team. And we know they were underdogs to SC, and we're underdogs as well. We don't really worry about that. That's the past. We're living in the now and we have to play now. So it's something that we're just trying to get better now and play. On his favorite Christmas present as a kid:
My favorite I say I was seven years old and I got Optimus Prime from Transformers. That was one of my most favorite. And this year, I really don't ask for anything now. You start getting less and less as you get older, so it doesn't really matter this year.LB Keenan Robinson
On the emotion of playing in this game:
This is a lifelong dream. This is exactly why I came to Texas because I knew I'd have a chance to play in this game. So this is my dream coming true.On waiting a month to play:
I don't think it bothers me, just because right now we're going back to basics, focusing on things that we learned in spring ball in two a days. So it's more fundamental practices, working on the small things. Then later on we'll worry about game planning for Alabama.On wanting to talk about Alabama:
I think it's a good thing to get a little time off. It gives us some time for our bodies to recover a little bit from a long season. It gives us more time to prepare. The more prepared we are, the better we have a chance of doing what we need to do on the field.On this game having the best two defenses in the country:
I think that's how it should be played. It's a defensive battle, you know. We've kind of seen that last game against Nebraska. Two good defenses going at it every down, but I think it will be a fun game. It will be a hard nosed game, a hard fought game. On Alabama RB Mark Ingram:
I think he's a good player. He has to be a great player to win a Heisman, so I think that's going to be a big challenge for us to be able to try to stop him.On the media giving them an edge by calling them underdogs:
I think we have to create our own edge just because of who we are at Texas. We try not to rely on other people to input some thoughts to be able to motivate us. We try to find a way to motivate ourselves. And I think that being the underdog, I guess, in this game, it could play some kind of factor, some kind of role, but we're still the number two team in the nation. So we're not that much of underdogs, we don't think. On a favorite Christmas present as a kid:
The best Christmas I received growing up was probably Hot Wheels tracks, some kind of Hot Wheels toy or something. I can't remember, it's been a while since I played with toys. LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On looking forward to a game with such great defenses:
Oh, it's going to be fun. They say defense wins championships, right? I heard that a long time ago. So we're going to take that mentality to the game. It's going to be fun, you know, sitting back, watching film, it's kind of a long wait for the game to start. But it's a build up process. As you get closer and closer to the game, you know, I can't wait till it, really.On waiting a month between games:
It's different. I like the fact that you have time, when your body over these last past 13 weeks has been beat up. And it's kind of a time, you know, for it to start healing up a little bit. But it's not the same as the regular six or seven days to games. So you've got time to really break down your opponent, get back to your fundamentals and get ready for the game.On Alabama’s defense:
Both of the teams’ defenses are ranked high. They've got great players, they've got a Butkus Award winner, an All-American tackle over there. Two good defenses are going to take the field. So we're going to come to play and be ready for the game. On being called the underdog:
Actually, I don't pay that much attention to the media and ESPN. I haven’t really paid too much attention about the underdog or what's been going on because I just pay attention to inside of the locker room and what people are saying. On if the atmosphere will be surreal:
Surreal? Man, first time it happened I was just sitting back. I didn't get a chance to actually go in and play in '05. So everything will just kind of hit me once I get in the game. The atmosphere, I know it's going to be loud out there. So once you smell the hot dogs and nachos and cooking it up, it's going to be fun. On how physical practice has been:
Yeah, what we did. We just took everything and started over. Just like two a days. The drills we haven't done since two a days, you know we're bringing back in. Just going back to your fundamentals and everything – attacking drills, individual drills – just getting ready. Going back to your core fundamentals of football is what we've been doing. Like I said, we've got time because we've got a little bit of a stretch before we play again. So you have time to do it and your body will heal back up again. On Alabama RB Mark Ingram:
He's a great player. I've got film on him. He's a great back. He's got great speed. He hits the holes quick. He's a hard runner. So he's one of those guys you can't just go in there and try to butt him down and throw your body. You've got to come in, bring your feet and wrap up. He's a great back, obviously. He won the Heisman Trophy. So it's going to be a great chance for the defense to step up and go out there and play the game.On a favorite Christmas present as a kid:
My favorite Christmas present was, no matter what it was, it was a big box. Growing up, it was always that one big box. You'd have that one big box, and you wake up, and that's the one. I would either open it up first or open it up last. But over the years once I got 18 and I didn't really get the big box, I was kind of disappointed. I might have been a little too old to be disappointed. But no matter what the big box was, I was eager to see what was in the big box.OG Charlie TannerOn winning a National Championship in a game that he plays in:
I hope I can. I hope I get that chance. I came in '05, and I got to be on the sidelines with all the confetti coming down and all that good stuff. It was something. I was like, “Man, if I can do that myself one of these years before I get out of here.” All of us are gunning for it. We're doing everything we can to get ready for it.On not being distracted by the size of the game:
I think the thing this team has done this year is realize it's one game at a time. We always said that all season. We made it to where we wanted to be. I think we're taking that same mentality is that, “Hey, this is another game, even though it's for everything.” So it's like you've got to balance, “Wow, this is the big one,” and “Hey, Alabama's a great team. We've got to be prepared for them not all the pageantry and all that other stuff.”On the tradition of the two teams:
It's got it all. It's two great programs. Alabama has so much tradition, such great coaching. And their players, they've got so many All-Americans over there it's ridiculous. It’s two heavyweight teams going at it. Both are going to play their hardest. This is going to be a great game to watch. On the Alabama’s defensive line:
They've got great players over there. It's crazy how good they are. They call him Mount Cody. Mount Cody is for a reason. He's a guy that's 375. He plays like he's 450 pounds. He can move like he's Lamarr or Sergio Kindle
. I'm going to have to get in the weight room, I guess. On rebounding after the Big 12 Championship game:
After that game we went, “Okay, guys, that wasn't our best football. That's not our standard here at Texas. We're all better than that. We know it. So let's put that behind us. Forget about that.” Suh's in the past, we don't have to worry about him. We have heavier people to worry about in Mr. Mount Cody. So we've got a lot to of film to watch, lot of practicing to do. We're getting prepared to play a great Alabama defense.On what has to change:
We've got to get back to basics. Coach Brown has put the pads on us, and we've gone out and gotten after each other. One thing that's cool about that, Coach Brown is always saying when we get frustrated and stuff, we don't play our best ball. But when we're loose and having fun, and we get after each other, we play the best football we do here. That's what we've been doing this week. We've been bringing back all kinds of drills from two a days. We'll have drills where it's offense versus defense, and you keep score and all that good stuff. You don't want to lose because if you lose, you don't want to go see film the next day. We're getting to the basics. Playing hard nosed football right now and we're really excited.On if Colt McCoy not winning the Heisman motivated them:
Yeah, he just said y'all get ready, man. Get back to work. That is basically his deal. He came right back at home and didn't say anything about it. He got back to work. I saw him in the weight room in his workout clothes just getting after it. That is the thing about Colt. He never gives up. He's always trying to be better. That really rubs off on the rest of us. On how much McCoy has changed:
It's funny. We've got this picture of him on the wall coming into the facility by the equipment room. And it's a picture of his first signing day here. If you look at him, you don't even recognize the guy. He looks so young it's ridiculous. We joke about him. He's gone from a young guy, couldn't grow facial hair to a mustache that everybody saw. He's definitely changed. Not only physically, but he got in the weight room with Mad Dog, he's beefed up. He was twice the size as he was when he came in here. But not only that, he's been a great leader for us. And he takes charge of our offense, and says, “Look guys, we're going to get where we wanted to be.”
DT Lamarr Houston
On his excitement for the game: I'm very excited to get the opportunity to play for the National Championship and to get a chance to play against the number one team in the country is amazing. It doesn't get any better than that. If you're not pumped to play this game, you shouldn't be playing football.
On Alabama RB Mark Ingram: He has great feet. He misses a lot of guys after contact, especially while he's receiving the ball. You have to wrap him up, be physical, and use your technique. You can't just go at the guy with the arm tackle.
On Alabama QB Greg McElroy: They have a great quarterback. A lot of people don't give him a lot of credit. He's only thrown four interceptions all year in the SEC, and that is amazing. Playing guys like (Florida’s) Joe Haden and different defenses like that. Throwing no more than four interceptions, that's unheard of.
On playing running back in high school: My quickness has just helped me be able to run better and be more mobile and have better foot work than a lot of other D-tackles. But other than that, you know it's a slight advantage.
On his favorite part of this experience: Playing for the Big 12 Championship and going to the National Championship is like a dream. It doesn't get any better than that. That's just something I get to keep for the rest of my life.
OT Adam Ulatoski
On the Alabama defensive line: They get up there. We'll just have to go out there and play our butt off.
On the excitement of this game: It's an incredible feeling. You know, we're excited. You know, this is why you come to Texas, you know, for a chance like this. We're going to go out there and try to make the best of it.
On not game planning for Alabama yet: We know that's going to help us get better, so we just focus on what we can control.
On the practice structure: I think it's been good. We've had so much time. We're usually focusing on the other team. Now it's a time that we can focus on ourselves and improve our fundamentals and everything we need to do. So we're happy for that opportunity. Also anxious to get out there and work on Alabama.
On the D-line being said to be better than Nebraska: I think they're both really good. They're both a little different. They play a little different style of line, but they're really, really good. Nebraska is more of a read and make plays. And Alabama gets straight off the ball.
On how much Colt McCoy has changed since he arrived: He looks a lot different, that's for sure. He's probably grown up a whole lot. In '05 he was the guy that's supposed to replace Vince, and you never even hear that anymore. He's become his own person. He's his own legend at UT now, and he's done a great job for us.
LB Emmanuel Acho
On the excitement of the game: It's extremely exciting all the work we've put in all season, and finally for us to see the dividends. It's going to be a great experience, an opportunity. And for me to be able to play with my brother on a big stage is going to be great.
On Alabama having more All-Americans: We try not to focus on I guess the publicity as far as individualism. We try to focus more on how the defense is doing as a whole. So as long as we're doing well collectively, we don't care too much about the individual stats. They're nice and all, but they don't have that much effect on the on the field performance.
On Alabama RB Mark Ingram: It's a really good challenge. Really exciting. Always good to play against the best. It's going to be fun to go up against one of the best running backs in the nation.
On Ingram being tough to bring down: Coach has really emphasized adding to the ball and trying to get all our jerseys around the ball to bring him down. So just like in any other game with any other back, you want to make sure you're hustling after every play to bring them down. With him especially, he's a very tough runner, so we'll always try to make sure we're going to rally to the ball.
On working on fundamentals in practice: It's always difficult when you have so much time off not to lose your fundamentals. So at first it kind of seems repetitive. But when you look at the bigger picture, and you start to see that you took a bad step or your eye control is off. You can see how important it is to make sure you get the fundamentals down. I guess when you go into August you're a little more anxious and you're ready for the season to kick off. And now you know you've got a big game ahead of you.
CB Aaron Williams
On being a younger player preparing for this game: It's exciting, you have to come out and perform your best. You're out there on the field for a reason. You have to just have fun with it.
On what older players tell younger ones: Don't mess up, really. No, they take care of us. They try to motivate us. Trying to calm us down in big time situations. You've just got to not think about it as much and just take care of it.
On Alabama WR Julio Jones: I haven't gotten to watch him that much. The times that they have games on TV, I get a glimpse of it a little bit. But I know he's a great receiver, a real big guy, real physical. Catches the ball good.
On when he’ll get more excited: I'll get more excited when I step foot in L.A. And once that comes about, my heart will start beating a little faster. Until then, I'm fine right now.
S Blake Gideon
On what it means to play in this game: It's huge. Obviously growing up a Longhorn fan, you know. Going to middle school and high school in this area. And seeing all the people that bleed orange and how important it is to them and how big the Texas family is. I guess you kind of get an idea of how big this game really is. And it is exciting to realize that we're going to be able to play in it, and we're going to be able to represent all of those people, not just at The University of Texas, but all the fans that Texas has.
On if being the Fiesta Bowl last year will help with the atmosphere: Maybe, maybe a little, but this is the National Championship. This is the last two teams standing and the two best teams in the country up to this point. So, the Fiesta Bowl was fun. It was a blast. It was an honor to play there, but this is for it all. This is the National Championship.
On if he talking about it makes it more of a reality: I'll probably realize it when we get to L.A. and we get the welcome and everything, and we start practicing out there and all the hype really starts to build up for it.
On if the style of game matters: It's really about getting that ring at the end of the day. I mean, it doesn't matter to me if we win, you know 50-49 or whatever it is, or 10-7. At the end of the day, the team with the most points is going to get a win and get a big, shiny trophy. And that's what we worked for all year round. And that's what we're out there in the heat for every day. So that's all it comes down to.
On if Mark Ingram improves throughout a game: He's a workhorse. He always wants the ball in tight situations, and that's the earmark of a great player. And he's obviously proved that with whether it be the numbers he's put down on paper or the trophy he picked up a couple weeks ago. He's proved it. He deserves everything he gets. He works hard. We're looking forward to the challenge of competing with him.
RB Tre' Newton
On if he feels he needs to match Alabama RB Mark Ingram: He's a great running back. He's won a bunch of awards and everything, and the Heisman of course. He's a great running back, but no, I just listen to coach Applewhite and try to work on the things he tells me I need to work on just to improve every day during the practices that we have until the game comes.
On if Applewhite has spoken about his time at Alabama: No, not really. He pretty much just thinks it's a running back group and what we can do to help our team and help our offense get better. He's mentioned Coach Saban's a great coach, but that's about it.
On preparations for the running backs: First of all, we're going to need to watch film when we get back from the break and try to focus in on Alabama a little bit more, just execute our assignments, execute the game plan, try to get our pick-ups right, read the tackles. Everybody in the running game, just execute our game plan.
On imagining what the atmosphere will be like: I'm sure it's going to be a great atmosphere. Right now I'm not really showing any nerves, you know, just trying to get through these bowl practices. But I'm sure once I get out there, I'll start feeling it a little bit more. But I'll be more excited than nervous.
On playing with Alabama QB Greg McElroy in high school: Back in high school, he was a senior. I was just a sophomore. So he was a great leader, you know. That was my first year starting, and he had waited behind Chase (Daniel). So he was a great leader. I mean, he brought us to a state championship, so he did a great job in high school.
On what he saw in him then: He was a hard worker back in high school. He always listened to what coach told him to do. So I'm not surprised at his success.
On focusing on fundamentals in practice: I like how we've gone back to the fundamentals, you know. Little things make you successful. You've got to go back to get the little things right. This is a great time for all of us. It's been pretty physical. And I think it's going to help us come game time because it's a lot of time between now and the game.
On if he had a favorite Christmas present growing up: When I was little, this is kind of embarrassing, but I used to play with these little action footballs. I don't know if you remember them. But they had the star players in the NFL. And one Christmas my parents designed this little field, this little Cowboys Stadium football field so I could play with my action men. And that was probably my best Christmas present.
WR James Kirkendoll
On coming to Texas to play for a National Championship: Yeah, that was probably my biggest decision. Probably a lot of players’ biggest decisions in coming to a school like Texas – to actually put yourself in a position to win one. So for us to actually do it, it was really big to actually write something out and try to reach for that goal and dream.
On being from Austin: Especially being from Austin, it means a lot. You grow up and watch the Longhorns, especially after the 2005 team did. To actually be on the team and be able to do it is really a dream.
On if playing at the Rose Bowl where the 2005 team won makes this more special: Yeah, it makes it special because you watch that game and you look at what they did, and you get the same opportunity, and it's just like – it's just a dream. So we're just going to go in there and play football and see what happens.
On being called the underdog: I don't think either team's the underdog. You have Alabama and Texas for the big game. We've both got great school tradition, great history. So it's going to be a showdown.
On if they watched the Nebraska game: We treated it like we did every other game and went back, looked at it, saw what we needed to do and what we need to work on. Right now we're just in the stage like two a days, going back to work. Everybody's getting better. Everybody's pushing each other. And right now it's just really we're working on the mental and physical part of it. And then, you know, a little later on we'll probably get more into game planning for Alabama.
On if he had a favorite Christmas present growing up: I was a big Ninja Turtles guy coming up you. Whatever new Ninja Turtles thing came out, that's what I had every Christmas. So that's what I would want.
K Hunter Lawrence
On if a defensive game increases his awareness and focus: Going into games like this with such good defenses, you kind of assume that you're going to have a few field goal opportunities with games like this, they're probably going to be pretty close. You just have to focus and realize that it might come down to you and just be ready for it.
On staying focused and sharp during a game: You can always just do some drills. You know, normal drills, keep kicking. You don't want to over kick or lose your legs. This is a good time for us to kind of get our legs back underneath us and get a little bit of a break.
On waiting for an opportunity to kick: Yeah, I’ve got some good guys to be behind me and mentor me along the way. One thing about choosing a place like Texas to come to, you realize everybody behind you and in front of you, our two deep can play a lot of places. That's something I realized. You have to work hard to be able to play here. So I just put in the time and effort and got the opportunity.
On his level of excitement for the game: I'm excited. You know, it's fun, a lot of fun. I got a lot of texts from everybody congratulating me and everything, so that was cool. It's been a dream come true going to the National Championship. I'm real excited about it. It's been four years for me.
On practicing kicks where the unit has to run out and kick: Yeah, every Thursday we do a kick with 12 seconds left where everybody's on the sidelines and we run, we have to do a hurry up field goal.
On speaking to his former coaches: Yeah, I talk to a lot of my coaches and everything from back home. I'm excited to get back. I'm going to my high school on Wednesday, talk to them, hang out with them for a little bit, but they've all been supportive the whole way. Everybody's been real nice.
C Chris Hall
On his openness with his faith, along with his teammates helping others to be open: It's wonderful. I didn't even know that. But, you know, I think that's probably the case for a lot of things. You know, often times it's the things that just a few people notice that make the most impact. Like I'll give you an example. Colt has an excellent work ethic, and his character is amazing. Right after the Kansas game, before the Baylor game, we had that short week. I came up here on Sunday. We actually had the day off because it was a short week. We usually come in there and get a lift and that kind of thing. But everybody had the day off. We came up there later in the day for the meeting, and Colt comes out of the weight room. He's been in there getting after it. There's probably only a few of us who actually saw that. But to see this guy's character and his work ethic in doing that, that made a big impact on me. And so for high school students to say that about us three and others being open, speaking about Christ and that having an impact on them, I didn't expect that, but how wonderful. And you know what, maybe from other examples like Colt's, maybe it's not surprising, but we should have expected it, but I didn't.
On his excitement for the game: It's going to be a blast. What a great consummation to my career here and all our seniors for sure. Getting to go back will definitely be special and be fun. I got to go there my first year, but this time, probably after four years of spring trainings and summer workouts and all that kind of good stuff, I imagine it may mean a little more. So what a special treat for our seniors.
On dealing with the magnitude of the game: It's going to be a football game. Whether it's in Pasadena or whether it's in Austin, Texas, that field's still going to be 100 yards long, about 53 yards wide, and we'll be playing a great team in Alabama for sure. But it's still just a football game like they've played all their lives. So this one definitely has a lot of importance to it, but it's a game that they love and they'll enjoy playing.
On Alabama’s defense being as good as Nebraska’s: Looking at Alabama's defense, for sure you can expect to see a great defensive line and a great linebacking corps. You know, being an offensive linemen I don't look much at the defensive backfield, but you look at the stats and they don't lie. They are a great defense. So it's good that we got to play Nebraska. What a great preparation it will be for Alabama.
On what from the Nebraska game can help them: Coach Muschamp and Coach Saban obviously used to work together and share a lot of the same philosophies and stuff. It's helpful to get to play our own defense every day in practice. So to get to play against another top, upper echelon defense like ours every day in practice, it's a big help. So that's been huge for us.